Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Donald Pleasance, Nancy Kyes
Director: John Carpenter
Running Time: 91 mins
Halloween is an American film about a murderer that escapes a maximum security psychiatric hospital, and returns to his old hometown to stalk a group of high school girls over the course of one terrifying Halloween.
This is one of the most important films of the modern horror genre, and although it succeeds in creating a somewhat eerie atmosphere, and a relatively engaging story, it’s not the most thrilling and frightening watch.
That is slightly down to the fact that this is a little dated. The whole thing is largely based around a more subtle creation of tension and fear, and although that is a commendable quality, it provides for a pretty dull watch from time to time, because once you’re into the story, you’re not getting the true punch of unpredictability and drama that would make it more exhilarating.
It’s hard to deny the successes of this film in its opening stages, particularly around the mysterious character of Michael Myers, the escaped murderer. At the beginning, he is truly frightening, and the way that he is directed by John Carpenter, i.e. to show him as a virtually faceless character, is really unnerving.
Another impressive part of this film is the score. It’s noticeable enough to be eerie and worrying, but not as overpowering as some more infamous horrors, and so works very well in creating the unsettling atmosphere that this film is trying to foster.
So, for all those reasons, this has been cited as a classic, and one of the first most popular editions of the slasher genre, thanks to its use of tension and not over-reliance on gore and violence.
Having said that, it is still necessary to have a little bit of danger visible on screen. Within the space of about 40 minutes, the formula that this film follows becomes pretty repetitive, and isn’t so exciting or frightening to watch, and that’s an issue that continues right the way through the film, so that’s why Halloween gets a 7.1 from me.